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Waitrose has taken a big step in cutting plastic packaging by trialling plastic-free food aisles for refillable containers.

The “dedicated refillable zone” boasts a “pick and mix” selection of frozen fruit and a barrow box scheme, which the retailer says has the potential to save thousands of tonnes of plastic and packaging.

The test is confined to its Botley Road store in Oxford, and is designed to help determine how customers will be prepared to shop in the future.

The aisle will boast the largest number of loose fruit and vegetables out of any national supermarket, as well as removing the plastic wrap from its flowers and indoor plants. There will also be refillable options for beer, wine, cereals and coffees.

The trial, branded “Waitrose Unpacked” will run for a period of 11 weeks until 18 August.

Head of CSR for Waitrose & Partners, Tor Harris, said: “We are determined to build on the work we’ve already done to reduce packaging - and this test will take our efforts to a whole new level as we help the growing number of customers who want to shop in a more sustainable way.

“This test has huge potential to shape how people might shop with us in the future so it will be fascinating to see which concepts our customers have an appetite for. We know we’re not perfect and have more to do, but we believe this is an innovative way to achieve something different.”